In 2001, Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz were commissioned to lead a team to develop the design for the refurbishment and modification of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The renovation included a complete overhaul of all existing installations for the main and surrounding buildings. The main goal was to create a stable indoor climate to prevent changing conditions damaging the exhibits.
Arup also advised on building physics and ICT concepts working in close collaboration with Van Heugten and DGMR.
The resulting solution included changes to the façades and interiors of the museum buildings, along with an advanced building management system befitting a modern museum of international ranking.
Recommended approaches were also made to resolve the access problem that the public passageway created by dividing the building into two disconnected halves.
One of the main challenges for the design team was the integration of the services installations in the building, while recovering the original geometry of the building and its space. The original 19th century monument had not included space for the distribution of modern-day installations.
Before the renovation, the vaulted ceilings were covered with 'fake' ceilings, hiding the building services. By restoring the original architectural splendour, the team came up with creative and integrated solutions, finding new ways to hide the installations from the eye. This required a multi-disciplinary approach with contributions from all consultants.
The original museum design relied heavily on daylight. Over the course of time, this was reduced by blocked up windows and suspended ceilings. The refurbishment design intent was to reinstate daylight and make the Rijksmuseum a day lit museum again.
The vaulted ceilings in the galleries are lit by electric lighting, which is designed to emphasise the architecture.